Negotiation – a tough skill to learn at best, and an unlearnable black art at worst. No-one likes to negotiate unless they’re coming in with a position of having an overwhelming advantage. No one likes to lose – I get it.

However, when potential clients haggle on price, I’ve never understood the negotiation style of asking for a particular scenario, only to then revise the specs and hope for a pro-rated fee. As in, “How much is a 4 minute corporate VO?” and then when we give them a rate, they ask the cost for a 2 minutes script (which is what they had all along) and then express amazement that it’s not exactly 50% of the rate.

There are such things as a minimum cost to bring a voice talent for a session. Trying to weasel down a rate below that minimum isn’t going to happen: if a talent wants S$500 for a particular script and then the client reveals their script is only 10% of the word count, it’s self-evident that we’re not about to offer a rate of S$50.

Besides, this reeks of the client trying to figure out our internal pricing structure. That’s a no-no. If we sense that the changing questions in the negotiation are trying to figure this out, there’s a high probability we will just stop replying.

The assumption the prospective client is making is the chance to get a paid gig in the door is paramount over anything else. As in, they don’t think we have the leverage to walk away, even if it is a crappy deal. Sometimes, people get so invested in a deal that they literally cannot afford to walk away from the table. That’s not us. We have to draw the line somewhere.

To quote a famous “Dexter” meme, “Surprise, Motherf##ker!” We have walked before and we will again. Save your tactics for negotiating with the used car dealer. Deal straight with us and we’ll deal straight with you.